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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

“You only get to live one life.”

Me Before You (2016) on IMDb

Plot Overview

A man (32) who for his athletic prowess has been described as “out-Bonding Bond” is in bed with a luscious blonde who suggests, “This is what we could be doing on holiday.” Picture exotic locales. Bond II replies, “You want me to stop?” Ian Flemming's Ur-Bond was subject to twinges of conscience regarding his loose sexual morals, but he assured him­self that at least he hadn't violated a virgin. Technically, singles are supposed to stop and get married first.

Bond II takes his cell phone with him—a marvelous gadget that would have been the envy of Q—as he dashes out of the house in the rain to hail a cab for work. He's talking on it when he spies a vacant cab (“Taxi!”). You know, studies have shown that when we multi-task, we alternately switch our attention between one focused task and the other. It takes 14 seconds to go from a cell phone conversation to paying attention to the road. Bond II doesn't wait that long before running across traffic … but then he didn't wait to get married either.

The scene shifts to The Buttered Bun tea shop in which a “pretty waitress” cajoles two old biddies into purchasing admittedly calorie-laden buns, telling them, “It's less if you eat them standing up.”Her father will characterize her as having, “worked like a Trojan for that shop the last six years.Trojan is a word that Webster defines as “2. one who shows qualities (as pluck, endurance, or determined energy) attributed to the defenders of ancient Troy.” Twenty-six-year-old Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) does not exhibit the precise skill set to make her invaluable to the bun trade—hers are skills more needed in a Bond girl—so the shop's owner let's her go (“I'm really sorry.”) In the dragging economy Lu needs another position in order to support her parents, grand­father and sister. The agency's pickings are slim (“She'll find some­thing”), so on a lark she applies for a position of “Care and companion­ship for a disabled man.” It's “Good money; excellent money.” Her mom dresses her conservatively in black and white, telling her, “Styles change, love, but smart remains smart,” and sends her off for an interview. Her potential charge Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), it turns out, is not easy to please but will require, shall we say, “pluck, endurance, and determined energy.” Lu's former employer says of her in his reference that she has a “warm, chatty, and life-enhancing presence with lots of potential.” Will's mom hires her to “start immediately.


Lu buries herself in research on paraplegia. Visually a short girl toting a tall stack of books is inspirational. How­ever, the audience is not taught what they tell us. Instead, what strikes us is those marvelous outfits she wears to work every day. She once had a place at Manchester majoring in Fashion (“I like clothes”); she gave it up to work to support her family. This film might do better educating us on clothes.

The concurrent movie “The Nice Guys” contains within it a tutorial film titled: Pool-side learning. Its heading reads “Adj”, i.e. adjective. Three young people on the beach have adjectives describing their towels, which we may use to describe Lu's clothes. The first holds up a “white towel.” Indeed Lu wears a white blouse on her visit to Paris setting a different tone in the movie. A girl holds up a yellow towel, the narrator calling it a “bright towel.” Lu wears a bright red dress when she accompanies Will to a concert. Lastly is a kid with a striped towel. The narrator announces, “Jonathan has a gay towel.” The word gay can indeed be used to describe some­thing with a bright colored pattern. That's what Lu wears through­out the film, gay clothes. That's the gay, i.e. color patterns, as found used in the Bible, (James 2:1-4): “him that weareth the gay clothing.”

To abridge Webster: “gay  adj  1  merry; 2  colorful; 3  licentious; 4  homo­sexual.” Kor­zyb­ski sug­gests “index numbers to break up false identi­fi­cations” (139). Lu wore gay2 clothing. She has a generally cheerful disposition (“What am I here for? To cheer him up, I guess.”) that blossoms even more at her gay1 birth­day party. Will and Lu watch together a video of “French gay4 porn”.

Will is visited (Will: “Congratulations”) by a couple co-workers from his old company (“Will: We were just friends.”) “It's his girl­friend and his best friend” who have now become a couple. Let's revisit Webster who also defines Trojan as “3: a gay, irres­pon­sible, dis­reput­able companion.” To Will they're a couple of Trojans3—Lu is a Trojan2 of a different sort. Here Webster was talking about gay3 as in its current usage explained by a writer-character in the 2014 movie, “Love is Strange.” It's used by the young in the expression, “That's so gay,” having nothing to do with sexual orientation, but meaning (broadly) “stupid.” You have a crippling accident and your best friend hooks up with your girl­friend? That's so gay!

It gets worse. This couple invite Will to their wedding. He goes and there Lu shares a drink with the bride's god­mother (Joanna Lumley) who confides in her that Will would have been a better match for her girl. This is such a gay3 marriage. It's the news­papers who confuse us with their bad grammar announcing Court Legalizes Gay Marriage. Gay marriage has been legal since way back when, as many a suitor whose intended has been stolen by his friend can attest, e.g. in “The Tennessee Waltz.”

Webster includes a definition of “marriage: an intimate or close union.” Lu's athletic boyfriend Patrick (Matthew Lewis) participates in the Viking Triathlon. A triathlon is the marriage of three diverse sports that ordinarily do not go together, so the combination does not quickly acquire a pithy name but has to make do with an unwieldy one. The courts did not legalize "gay marriage" per se, because gay has too many meanings to be used in a legal setting requiring precision. What the Court legalized is same-sex marriage; gay marriage means some­thing else, or has a variety of meanings.

Will (“I can't live like this”) has made a firm decision: “I need it to end here.” He has made arrangements with a place called Dignitas in Switzerland. Just because some civil jurisdiction has legalized a practice that has always been considered immoral if not out­right illegal, doesn't mean the people who provide the support services for the one who wants to avail are happy campers. Lu's religious mother prays for “strength to face the challenges,” not an easy way out that's “no better than murder.” She tells Lu, “You can't be a part of this.

But Lu needs the job. By way of biblical comparison, look at the question of what the Corinthians were supposed to do when member­ship in a guild required one to attend meetings where meat was served that had been sacrificed to an idol. The apostle Paul explained, in 1Cor. 8:4, that since an idol isn't really a god, just a mislabeled rock or what­ever, it's okay to partake so long as some weaker brother isn't inadver­tently offended (1Cor. 8:13). A Christian is allowed to explore finding a work-around in such situations, though it may bring him into conflict with other believers who are stricter. “Me Before You” ends up exploring one such situation.

Production Values

This film, “” (2016) was directed by Thea Sharrock who wrote its screenplay as an adaptation of Jojo Moyes's book Me Before You. It features a talented British cast of Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, and Matthew Lewis. Sam Claflin's portrayal of Will is impeccable. Emilia Clarke's casting as the klutzy babe was spot on but with the exaggerated facial expressions more typical of silent films. Steve Peacocke did okay as Nathan the male nurse once one got past his peculiar accent.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for thematic elements and some suggestive material. It was filmed at Pem­broke Castle, Pem­broke­shire, Wales, UK. The mellow musical sound­track crosses the line into intrusiveness at times; it's just too much. The film seems to be designed around the bottom line, not to repel audiences with its unappealing handicap material. The cripple is wealthy, which allows him to ameliorate his situation some­what. He's got the best equipment, the best help, and the most exotic get­aways. He (and every­one) is dressed to the nines and the scenery is gorgeous. His pain-ridden screams are referred to but never heard. The medicines are shown but never their adminis­tration. And he's always got a British stiff upper lip. I'm not objecting; that's just how it is. There are some great scenes in this superbly structured, well-paced drama that stops short of being melodramatic.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I'm just a sucker for a good movie, and I appreciated this one even though it was some­what manipulative, but what movie isn't? Great pains were taken to make it easy on the eyes. Lacking much in the way of body language from one of the principals, the camera focused a lot on facial closeups, which worked fine for the handsome male lead, but the female's cherubic face seemed distorted at times—but who cares? See it for what it is.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: None of the Above. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotation is from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print.

Korzybski, Alfred. Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non- Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics. Quoted in Stuart Chase, Power of Words. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1954. Print.

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: MERRIAM-WEBSTER. 1984. Print.